Ideally, both the employer and employee collaborate on the end of a working relationship. However, a termination of employment can become contentious. Disagreements as to the reason for dismissal, as well as the owing of termination or severance pay, may become sources of conflict.
If you would like to discuss your legal rights in an employment matter, contact our Toronto termination disputes lawyers today and schedule a no cost consultation.
Why Do Termination Disputes Occur?
Termination disputes can occur because of a difference in opinion between the employer and employee regarding the employee being let go. In Ontario, an employer has the right to fire an employee at any time, with or without providing a reason. However, unless the employment was terminated for cause (typically involving contract-breaching misconduct), the employer is required to provide the employee with statutory notice or pay in lieu of notice. This is regulated under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA).
A dispute may arise if the employer claims they have terminated the employee for cause, but the employee claims they were unjustly let go. Likewise, there may be disagreement about how much severance or termination pay the employee is owed. If you have questions about the way your employment was terminated, contact our employment lawyers to assist with your termination dispute.
What is Wrongful Dismissal?
When a person has been fired or let go in a manner they feel to have been arbitrary, unjust, or otherwise incorrect, there may be cause to call it a wrongful dismissal. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with unjust dismissal, but there are key distinctions between the two.
Unjust dismissal guidelines under the Canada Labour Code apply to federally-regulated employees, and may be used to pursue remedies as well as back pay and reinstatement.
Wrongful dismissal guidelines under the Employment Standards Act apply to most employees in Ontario. If an eligible employee believes their dismissal was wrongful, they may be able to pursue damages through a civil claim. To discuss what may be best in your case, contact our employment lawyers at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP today.
What Is Dismissal for Just Cause?
An employer can fire an employee without notice, pay in lieu of notice, or severance pay, if they can prove that the dismissal was “for just cause.” Reasons for just cause dismissal are when an employee has engaged in conduct that breaches the terms of their employment. This may be consistent lateness, harassment, dishonesty, incompetence, and more. In extreme cases, this conduct may involve a criminal act.
Sometimes, an employer may attempt to justify ending the employment relationship without providing the employee with their entitled notice and/or severance by claiming there is a basis for just cause. The onus of proof lies with the employer, meaning they must provide evidence to support their claim. If you believe you have been fired under a false claim of just cause, contact our Toronto employment lawyers today to discuss your case.
What Is Bad Faith Discharge?
A bad faith discharge is when an employer breaches their duty to act in good faith while terminating an employee’s employment. This may include malicious behavior such as spreading damaging rumours and false accusations, attempting to intimidate the employee, and otherwise creating an atmosphere that causes the employee significant mental distress.
An employee who has been dismissed in bad faith may be awarded compensatory damages to make up for losses incurred as a result of the employer’s conduct.
What Is a Temporary Layoff?
A temporary layoff is when an employee's work is either stopped completely or severely reduced, with the expectation that they may be called back to the same position after a certain period of time. Under the ESA, a temporary layoff may last up to 13 weeks in a 20-week period, with certain exceptions. If the employer has not recalled the employee after the ESA-prescribed period, the employment is typically considered terminated, and the employee may be entitled to termination pay.
How Can an Employment Lawyer Assist Me If I've Been Terminated?
If you have been terminated, an employment lawyer may be able to help ensure that your termination was conducted rightfully. At Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP, we can advise you on your legal rights and help you receive the compensation you are owed.
What Should I Do if I’ve Received a Termination Letter in Ontario?
If you have received a termination letter in Ontario, you should review it thoroughly to understand its content, including what the employer states to be the basis of your termination. Then, you should consider contacting an employment lawyer to go over the letter with you and ensure that your rights are being considered.
How Do I Respond to an Unfair Termination?
If you believe that you have been terminated unfairly, you should consider contacting an employment lawyer. A lawyer will explain the termination letter and advise on the best course of action.
Questions to Ask Your Employment Lawyer When Dealing With Termination Disputes in Ontario
When you are approaching an employment lawyer about a termination dispute, it may be useful to ask them the following questions:
- Have I been fairly terminated?
- Am I owed any compensation?
- What legal rights, if any, may I pursue against my employer in this termination?
Should you decide to pursue a claim, an employment lawyer may guide you through the process.
What Happens to Your Benefits and Pension During a Termination Dispute in Ontario?
Depending on the benefits, pension, and overall circumstances of the termination dispute, contributions may be stopped after a termination. However, sometimes an employer may be on the hook for contributions to your pension and benefits for some time following the end of the employment relationship. Contact a Toronto employment lawyer to learn more on what may be applicable in your case.
Contact Our Termination Disputes Lawyers Today For a Free Consultation
Termination disputes can be challenging, and the scope of an employee’s entitlements may not immediately be clear. Please contact us if you require legal assistance.
*Please be advised that the content of this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of termination disputes in Ontario, and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with an employment lawyer.